Attempting a planted aquarium for first time
Okay, I got SeaChem flourite as a substrate (rinsed it for like, forever before placing in tank). I planted a variety of swords and ferns. I have daylight bulbs in the hood. Plants are dying. I don't know what else to do. I visited my local pet store and it had this phenomenal planted aquarium - everything looked lush and vibrant. And then I noticed a plastic soda bottle with an airline tube coming from it and going into the tank and bubbles coming out of it. I asked about it and finally I found someone who said that yeast and carbon dioxide and plants will thrive. I tried to find out more but it was a delivery day and all the workers were scrambling to stock the shelves. So, has anybody heard of this? Can you help me do this in my planted aquarium? What can I do? What do I need? Thank you!
For people with smaller tanks and/or not wanting to invest in pressurized CO2, there's a way to make a DIY CO2 setup using yeast and sugar. CO2 is the byproduct in fermentation so you can run some airline tubing to a diffuser/reactor to get it dissolved in the water. You can't use the same high-pressure diffusers used by pressurized systems though because the plastic bottles won't be able to sustain such pressure without failing (exploding). There's plenty of information available on the net if you do a search for "DIY CO2" but here's a good link to learn all you need to know about it.
Also, it would help if you told us the size of your tank and more details about your light fixture to find out why your plants aren't thriving. CO2 isn't always necessary to have a lush planted tank so your problem may be something else.
Funk gave you a run down on the CO2 but google 'DIY CO2' for more details or 'aquarium CO2' or similar for details on what it does.
The more important thing to address atm is that CO2 is not 'step A' in getting a lush planted tank, Proper lighting IS.
In fact, CO2 is entirely optional for a lush verdant tank. Proper lighting is not, So we will address that first.
As mentioned we need the tank size, # of bulbs, Their wattage & Spectrum [This will be a number on the bulbs ending with a K] and how long you leave them on for.
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+1 to the above
Depending on the plants that you would like to keep, CO2 may not even be required. I have found lighting to be the biggest factor in success with easy to moderatly difficult plants to keep.
I personally perfer my planted tanks to be as low tech as possible, but like I said, that is just my preferance
If you take your time to do the research FIRST, you can successfully set-up and keep ANY type of aquarium with ease.
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Agree with that. But I know what OP means. One of my local shops has a 7 foot display tank, planted classic dutch style and kitted out with just about any gizmo they sell. So much CO2 in that that the plants look fake from a distance.
Bio Co2 is just a matter of yeast, sugar, some tubing and a few bottles and an airstone.
As noted, the proper amount and type of lighting is crucial. That is the #1 thing to assess. Besides that, what is the stocking level of your tank? What is your nitrate level? Do you use any liquid or substrate fertilizers? Also, for the ferns, did you plant them in the substrate? The rhizome of ferns should not be buried, and instead should be attached to rock or driftwood.
Also can you describe how your plants are dying? E.g. stunted growth, discolorations, formation of holes, melting away, etc. What is happening visually can help diagnose the problem.
I grow many varieties of plants in my planted tanks, including swords, and I have never used CO2. I have used a liquid carbon source (Seachem Excel) on occasion, but even that has been rare. CO2 is not a "make or break" type of thing unless you're talking about a high-tech tank with demanding plants.